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Searching For a Break in GNP

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  • Lawrence J. Christiano

Abstract

It has been suggested that existing estimates of the long-run impact of a surprise move in income may have a substantial upward bias due to the presence of a trend break in post war U.S. GNP data. This paper shows that the statistical evidence does not warrant abandoning the no trend null hypothesis. A key part of the argument is that conventionally computed significance levels overstate the likelihood of the trend break alternative hypothesis. This is because they do not take into account that, in practice, the break date is chosen based on pre-test examination of the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence J. Christiano, 1988. "Searching For a Break in GNP," NBER Working Papers 2695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2695
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    1. Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Theory ahead of business-cycle measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-44, January.
    2. Lawrence J. Christiano, 1987. "Why is consumption less volatile than income?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 2-20.
    3. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1987. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(4), pages 857-880.
    4. Perron, Pierre, 1989. "The Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1361-1401, November.
    5. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-384, March.
    6. Rappoport, Peter & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1989. "Segmented Trends and Non-stationary Time Series," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 168-177, Supplemen.
    7. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1981. "What Is Left of the Multiplier Accelerator?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 150-154, May.
    8. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
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